Stanford researchers are trying to act like the NSA in order to learn about the NSA. Researchers Jonathan Mayer and Patrick Mutchler created MetaPhone, an Android app which collects a phone’s metadata and compares it to basic information on Facebook. After learning that the NSA collects phone metadata from Verizon such as calling and texting logs, the researchers wanted to test how revealing this metadata is. “Some defenders of the NSA’s bulk collection programs have taken the position that metadata is not revealing,” Jonathan Mayer told MIT Technology Review. “We want to provide empirical evidence on the issue.… Our hypothesis is that phone metadata is packed with meaning.” More →
A Virgin America Airbus A320 now features the quote, “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish” directly beneath the cockpit in tribute to the late Steve Jobs, reports CNET. The quote is taken from Jobs’s 2005 Stanford commencement speech and was suggest by a Virgin America employee. “The ‘Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish’ aircraft name was actually submitted as a tribute to Mr. Jobs by one of our employees in an internal plane naming competition,” said Virgin America spokesperson Abby Lunardini. Virgin has always looked to innovate the industry and it was the first airline company to offer fleet-wide Wi-Fi. It is also the only airline based in Silicon Valley, and the company likens itself to the late Apple co-founder. “The idea behind Virgin America was to reinvent the travel experience by thinking differently about design and service–we are known for the tech-forward amenities we offer onboard,” Lunardini said. More →
This isn’t the first time Google has discussed its intentions to build out a ridiculously fast 1Gbps broadband network, but it looks like its ultra high-speed efforts are finally set to materialize. The Internet giant announced Thursday that it reached an agreement with Stanford University to build an experimental network for approximately 850 homes on the campus’ Residential Subdivision. Google plans to begin building the broadband network early next year. Stanford’s upcoming high speed network is clarified to be completely separate from the “Fiber for Communities” project Google announced earlier this year. While Google’s community effort is still in the planning stages, it looks as though Stanford will be the company’s opportunity to show the world what a 1Gbps residential network can do. The next due date for Stanford University’s early action admissions is November 15th, so you’ll have plenty of time to get in good with faculty living in the school’s Residential Subdivision before Google-net is built out. More →
A new study out of Stanford University shows that our touchscreen cellphones are some of the dirtiest, filthiest, bacteria-harboring vessels out there. How dirty? The study found that an average cell phone has 18x more bacteria than a toilet handle in a men’s public-restroom. In addition to having more bacteria, the fact that we use our fingers to interact with the device is also quite a problem. The Stanford study found that once the germs are on the devices, 30% of the germs will make their way on to your hands, and from there… well, you know, you rub your eyes, mouth, etc. And some of you wonder why you always catch me with a Purell bottle.